I''ve almost finished my HTS (This is Higher education Informatics) and ask myself how my future could look like as a professional game developer?
Would a steady job with lots of money be possible, or will I be writing stupid subroutines for small amounts of money and changing company every other month?
the companies that publish games usually make good money. but there''s not much money for only 1 of the developers. still the income is not that bad. i would say something like $80k/yr
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Try to make a demo for a killer game and send it to the best publishers. But even if you get a million funding (developing/marketing/sales etc.)for your game, you must get breakeven (earn more then a million), to get your profit. In this job you will own your independant developmentstudio. Your clients are publishers. It will be more difficult (also in the future), because publishers prefer to work with there own studio''s and some independant (famous) studio''s they have already a partnership with. Sp for new talent it will be more and more difficult. You need a publisher. Publishers need developers, but they have already developers, there own and some third party, they are working with for a while and have mostly a partnership with for there productline x. Look at Accolade with Infogrames for instance. So for new talent it will only easy possible for the simple budget games to get published. But for the biggest games it will be hard I am afraid. Like a games consultant said they don''t respond mostly, you don''t hear anything more when you send a concept/demo.
Better work for a games company, where you will receive also some profit of the games you developed. That''s the best thing.
Being your own boss is nice, but to survive as an independant is very difficult, even if your killer game got break even, you have to go for a next project. And the hard question is will that also sell breakeven or even will you find a publisher easy for funding etc. Publishers are not all nice in giving respons I find out, only a little are.
Game companies (in the USA) aren''t very stable compared to most other companies. Software in general is more volatile than many other industries. Atari, Accolade, SSI, Spectrum Holobyte, they''re all gone. A long history does not guarantee a long future.
The money is pretty good, but not as good as business applications or other programming careers. But then again, what do you want to do for your 9-5, work on a database or work on computer games?
Beats flipping burgers, though. Bottom line is, learn to code, learn to cope. Making games can get tough come crunch time and we don''t have room for people that are going to crack under pressure. If you got skills, if you can work and play well with others, if you don''t mind relocating...
...then get your butt over here. (California) Just make sure you have a job before you jump. Living''s expensive here.
At the moment game designers (and mainly project leaders) make better money than most programmers and equal money to excellent programmers. However, unless a designer releases a killer game, they are considered more expendable than programmers or artists ... more money = higher stakes. You make a real bomb and you may be out of work for a long time. But a good programmer is a good programmer, even if the project is lousy.
Alex Atypical Interactive www.atypical-interactive.com
How true Alex....so a word of advice to designers. Be VERY picky about the project you take on, even if you can''t afford to. In the long term view it IS your permanent record at stake. If you know the game''s gonna bomb, bail out before you begin working on it. Fortunately this is not too much the case anymore, especially with companies that have a good track record, but some still do funky ventures that can fail bigtime.